(January 2010) How does direct experience on disaster recovery planning process reflect on planning system and research?
Disasters are often described as a sudden and often severe interruption of the basic livelihoods, the social fabric, physical infrastructure, and in poor countries, the very core of the “development process”. Lives are lost; social networks are disrupted; and capital investments are damaged or destroyed. These are some aspects of the connections between disasters and various factors involved in development. Disaster losses include not only the direct impacts that are immediately visible, such as the loss of life, housing and infrastructure, but also indirect impacts such as foregone production in utility services, transport, supplies and markets. Recovery may be thought of as an attempt to bring a post disaster situation to a level of acceptability through the rectification of damage and disruption that has been inflicted upon an urban system’s built environment, people and institutions. Post-disaster recovery planning is considered to be a critical element that appears to be deficient in policy papers. Poor management of the urgent land use an and environmental planning can seriously delay the actual recovery reconstruction after a disaster, leading to a cascade of psycho-social upheaval, economic disruption and other disaster-related repercussions, which impede the recovery and reduce community functioning. In these times of uncertainty, escalating concern over global warming and its effects on weather patterns, as well as the size and frequency of natural disasters and technical ones concerning globalization and terror, it seems fitting to analyze and discuss how effectively governments are planning for disasters and whether they are responding to them appropriately. All proposed events brought extensive damage and material loss, as well as human casualties. Although hardly comparable in scale with regards to death toll or economic loss, these events have raised many parallel issues in government mitigation and response protocol and initiative. The facts and figures of each emergency will then be compared and discussed. I plan to ground my approach on the Case Study methodology based on substantial experience in planning-related professionals’ interviews. My arguments will be based on direct experiences, supported by appropriate references to similar cases in the literature and framed around logical propositions based on factual evidence.